On my first visit to The Step2 Company's Ohio headquarters last year, there was a rather large mockup in the R&D department that immediately drew some attention from the entire group of Brand Ambassadors that I was there as a part of. While Step2 has long-been known for making some fantastic playhouses, we'd never seen one quite like the prototype we were looking at - something that the designers had been wanting to do for ages: one that was two stories. Fast-forward to the Fall of 2015 and The Step2 2-Story Playhouse & Slide is a reality, available exclusively at Toys "R" Us, and a featured pick in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide.
As a Step2 Brand Ambassador, I've had the joy of bringing you a ton of news, reviews and features on new products from The Step2 Company over these past few years. For Fall 2015, we're going a little bit bigger, and I'm helping to drop the curtain on 11 new products (MADE IN THE USA*) destined to be sought-after by children, and almost certain to make several Hot Holiday Toy lists (a few will be in my own Holiday Wish Guide). The lineup is impressive, and we're inviting all of you to share in our excitement by taking part in a very special giveaway - one in which the winner will get their choice of which item they'll receive from the Fall 2015 reveals! Ready to rock?
On my recent trip to the Ohio headquarters of The Step2 Company, I turned a corner to find something mysterious... large... and previously only rumored to exist. The legend turned out to be true... and there it was - headlights shining at me - glaring in front of an iconic blue and orange color scheme that can only be claimed by one of America's biggest and best-selling automakers. Granted, they're usually 1:64 in scale and made largely of diecast metal, but I don't know if any car brand has moved more units than Hot Wheels since the first "Redlines" rolled-out in 1968. The odd thing here is that I found myself staring at what may be one of the biggest Hot Wheels items ever to be produced... and it wasn't in the famed Southern California Design Studio that Mattel has established for Hot Wheels, but in the Ohio testing facility of fellow toymaker Step2. Take a peek at this, and look very closely...
I love toys. It's a simple statement of fact - but my passion for plastic has certainly been fed by the fact that my wife and I are the parents of two little girls... little ones whose interests are broad and diverse. Kinda like that of their parents. When I launched this website (now in year five), I had every intention of covering the toy industry through news, reviews and features - but had no idea that I'd eventually wind-up cashing checks from some of our favorite toymakers. One of my longest-standing relationships has been with The Step2 Company, for whom I've served as a toy tester and paid Brand Ambassador for the past few years. Now, as I've reached the mid-way part of my third (and final) year in this position, the curtain has been pulled back on the future of the company and the exciting new product line-up for the rest of 2015 and well beyond. Along with my fellow Ambassadors, I recently returned to Ohio to provide feedback and consultation on upcoming offerings in meetings with the marketing and development staff, and sat down with new President and CEO Chris Quinn. Step2 is a company that I believe in, and my latest adventure proved that they have some BIG surprises yet to come...
THE ROCK FATHER is sharing #TheIndisposables in his life as part of a Schick® Xtreme3® sponsored series for Socialstars. Horns up! \m/ \m/
Ah, the summer months... a time for adventure, excitement, and of course, The Indisposables - those essential items that just help to make things better. For 2015, I'm highlighting just five new indisposable essentials that can be considered to be certified "Rock Father-approved" picks. If you're a regular reader, there's actually a good chance that these have already crossed your browser in a more subtle form as they've already become a part of our daily routine, and hopefully they'll soon be a part of yours as well!
On my trip to The Step2 Company's home offices in Streetsboro, Ohio last year, one of the items that really caught my eye was something that was still in the prototype stage, and not quite greenlit for production just yet. Fast-forward a couple of seasons, and that unique toy has just hit the streets as the Step2 Home Run Baseball Trainer - something a little bit different in this space, and certainly different for Step2. Having coached my oldest daughter's Pee Wee Baseball team last year, I would've loved to have had one of these on-hand to help the little ones build their "batting eye," honing their skills with a bat as they got their hand-eye coordination completely locked-in.